THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has called for the appointment of competent Permanent Secretaries to complement the recently – appointed Cabinet Ministers and propel the economic rebuilding agenda.
Following the newly – appointed 26-member Cabinet, President Mnangagwa has been criticised for recycling “old horses” though blended with new faces, some who are not technocrats, therefore casting doubt that the incumbent Government would deliver.
The latest Cabinet comprises of nearly half of the ministries being key economic portfolios likely to drive Zimbabwe beyond the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1) targets as the country aims to attain an upper middle-income society status by 2030.
ZNCC chief executive officer, Christopher Mugaga, said a ministry’s ability to deliver is not solely in the hands of a Cabinet Minister, but competent permanent secretaries who are technocrats.
“While Cabinet Ministers and deputy ministers have now been appointed, it is now vitally important for the President to align a best Cabinet with a fresh crop of permanent secretaries who are technocrats to foster an institutional framework on key deliverables.
“Ministers are politicians who should be politically correct, providing policy direction on Government programmes within their respective portfolios as well as ensuring that the programmes are economically viable and socially acceptable.
“Therefore, what matters for the President is to appoint a fresh set of Permanent Secretaries who are competent technocrats,” he said.
In the new Cabinet, the President retained Finance and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube whose ministry is significant in propelling economic stabilisation and development agenda.
Mthuli, a technocrat was first appointed Finance and Economic Development during the first term of the Second Republic in 2017.
During the first term, the Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2018 launched a two-year Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) whose broad objectives brought macro-economic stability though people injured a sustained period of austerity.
Through TSP that was anchored on adopting austerity measures as part of the interventions to stabilise the economy, the Government was successful in bringing about fiscal consolidation on a sound footing leading to the of NDS 1.
A similar policy, NDS 2, will anchor the economy between 2026 and 2030.
Other Cabinet Ministers that have been appointed to key economic ministries are: Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, formerly with the Ministery of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
An economic analyst Wendy Mpofu noted: “It is uninspiring that in the latest Cabinet we are seeing the recycling of ‘old horses’ which reminds us of the old days during the era of former President Mugabe.
“Given such as scenario this cast aspersions whether the capability of this new Cabinet being able to deliver, moreso we need competent people who are qualified in respective areas to oversee key economic ministries.”
In a separate interview, economic commentator, Farai Mutambanengwe, said there are concerns over the choice, calibre and capabilities of the latest Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers in as far as being able to deliver as expected by the citizens.
“There are concerns over the choice, calibre and capabilities of the Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers for example in key sectors such as energy and power development, and ICT (Information Communication Technology) in terms of them being able to deliver as is expected by the people given the turmoil our economy is facing at the moment.
“The rhetoric from the Government when you hear them speak is that the economy is growing but this is converse to what is on the ground or what an ordinary person sees.
“So, it’s really going to be a challenge. When the President made his choice of Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers, we don’t know what he had in mind, so we await to see how this Government will perform,” he said.